Local membership-based organization SLO Village
is calling on San Luis Obispo community members to become volunteer drivers for seniors in need of a ride.
PHOTO COURTESY OF SLO VILLAGE
VOLUNTEERS SLO Village is looking for volunteer drivers to provide transportation to seniors in the city of SLO. This photo was taken pre-pandemic.
SLO Village Volunteer Coordinator Megan McGreen told New Times
that SLO Village has about 55 members throughout SLO County who rely on the organization’s volunteers to provide transportation, house and gardening maintenance, computer assistance, meal delivery, social and education events, and companionship.
The goal is to empower seniors in the county to continue living successfully in their own homes and communities. SLO Village prides itself on cultivating a community of 45 volunteers and its members who work together to create a better aging experience.
Last year, local and state guidelines established to slow the spread of the coronavirus changed the way SLO Village volunteers could help the organization's members. McGreen said companionship visits occur outside at a safe distance with members who requested it, deliveries have continued, and social activities moved online.
Currently, SLO Village needs volunteers who can provide seniors with transportation to medical and COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Executive Director Kerry Sheets said the organization started receiving ride requests to vaccination sites, as most seniors are now eligible to get vaccinated. In the city of SLO, she said, one of the vaccination sites is in a medical plaza off Johnson Avenue and Bishop Street—if the parking lot is full, you have to park down the street and walk.
“One thing our drivers do is pick you up from your home, and not only take you to the appointment but walk you into the building,” Sheets said. “The volunteer will wait until the appointment is over or give you their number to call when you’re ready.”
Unlike rideshare services like Uber, Sheets said the volunteers take more time to help a SLO Village member, make conversation, and form a bond.
In order to become a volunteer driver, the organization requires a valid driver’s license, a driving record from the DMV, and a copy of registration and insurance.
To keep SLO Village members and volunteers safe, the organization recommends that drivers wear a mask at all times, wipe down and clean their car before providing a ride, have the passenger sit in the back seat, and keep the windows down if possible.
McGreen said the organization is hoping to gain at least five more drivers in the San Luis Obispo area. For more information or a volunteer application, visit slovillage.org